The words are those of men who actually took part in the Battle of Mametz Wood.
Capt. Llewelyn Wyn Griffith of the 15th. Royal Welsh Fusiliers wrote 'Up to Mametz' survived the war. He lost a son in WWII.
David Jones, a Private in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, wrote 'In Parenthesis'. He was wounded in the thigh during the battle. After the war he became a distinguished poet and artist.
Along with his friend Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves was a commissioned officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. They both fought at Mametz Wood.
Harry Fellows was in the Northumberland Battalion. He was involved in burying the dead after the Battle of Mametz Wood. The horrors he saw left a lasting impression. When he died in 1987 his ashes were buried in Mametz Wood.
No one knows the identity of the authors of the letter or the poem.
Video and Editing:
The Welsh Dragon Memorial at Mametz Wood was designed by Carmarthenshire sculptor and blacksmith David Petersen. He sent me an email after he'd watched 'Words from Mametz Wood':
Dear Huw Davies,
Thank you so much for sending me the DVD of the Mametz Wood battle. I thought the DVD was excellent and does express the horror of what took place.
When I was making the memorial I had the opportunity to talk to some of the old soldiers who were at Mametz and their stories were truly awesome and terrible. The bravery that those guys showed under terrible conditions!
There was a serious case of lice amongst the troops in the trenches and everyone had to have their heads shaved by the regimental barber. One young lad [17 yrs] had promised his Mam that he would not have his 'beautiful' ginger curly hair cut whilst he was "away in France for a few months"! and he told the Sgt. this. So when he refused to have it cut, the Sgt. drew his pistol and shot him dead, for 'disobeying orders at the front line'.[Immediate court marshal].
Because of the lice, everyone tried to get hold of 'women's silk undergarments', as these stopped the lice from being on their skin and biting!
These are two of the stories that were told to me by those who were there! They left an impression on me that I carry to this day. They are all dead now, but their stories live on and somehow we must commit them to history with films like yours and articles and books. I have a copy of a BBC Wales film by Vincent Kane on the battle as well, it's about 20 years old!. We must learn from them and make sure that our politicians will never engage in wars again. (some hope, I know; but we must try.)
It's interesting that there were so many excellent poets and artists engaged in that particular battle, on both sides. Remember that Otto Dix was actually 'in' the wood and writes about his experience at the time.
After designing and making the Mametz memorial, I haven't been asked to make any more and I have to wonder why? Was it that the officials didn't approve of my concept that stated the stupidity of war and only focused on the courage and bravery of the 38th Welsh Division? I'll never know! But the image is one of the most printed and photographed of all the monuments on the Somme, so perhaps I did strike a chord with most people!
Anyway thank you again for sending me the information, I really do appreciate it.